Armed robber jailed for three years over botched Zabbar hold-up

Man jailed for attempted hold-up in Zabbar

File Photo
File Photo

A robber who fired shots during a botched hold-up in Zabbar in 2018, has been jailed for three years and fined.

Marcus John Calleja was sentenced on Thursday by Magistrate Rachel Montebello after he pleaded guilty at a late stage in the proceedings against him.

In November 2018, Calleja, now 48-years-old, was accused of attempted aggravated theft, holding persons against their will, possession of a firearm during the commission of an offence and discharging the firearm in an inhabited area. He was also accused of relapsing.

The hold-up was foiled by the resistance of the shopkeeper and bystanders. No one was injured in the course of the robbery.

Despite initially pleading not guilty, Calleja had changed his plea and solemnly admitted the charges on 12 March this year, in court.

In handing down punishment, magistrate Rachel Montebello took into account several factors, among them the gravity of the offence and the accused’s criminal past.

But it also took into account Calleja’s evident will to move forward and distance himself from this past.

In his 18 months being held on remand at Corradino Correctional Facility, he had shown a “dramatic change in his behaviour” which the court noted was at least partially down to a recent diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and subsequent treatment.

Court experts had said that his progress would benefit from a drug rehabilitation program.

Prison officers had testified that the man had transformed into a model inmate and was carrying out duties “only allocated to trustworthy and exemplary inmates.”

In its considerations, the court said it had to balance the man’s debt to society and his rehabilitation. His progress in prison should translate into a “highly moderated” sentence, said the magistrate, despite his long criminal history.

In addition to jailing Calleja for 36 months, it placed the man under an immediate treatment order to consolidate his progress against drug abuse, for his ADHD, as well as for his anger management issues.

Calleja was also ordered to pay €5,791 in costs.

Inspectors Fabian Fleri, Lydon Zammit and Joanna Piscopo prosecuted.

Lawyers Emmanuel Mallia and Ezekiel Psaila were defence counsel.

READ ALSO: Man charged with foiled armed hold up


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